Bustle of the city, constantly increasing demands on the individual, air pollution, genetically modified food, and many other factors of modern times has led many people to question whether it is possible to live in such a world. Therefore, more and more people on free days flee into the countryside, where you can enjoy fresh air, fruit from local farmers, and the beauty of nature. However, some have gone so far that they decided to replace a comfortable life, full of conveniences of the modern world, for a life in harmony with nature. It’s the life in the hamlets or solitudes full of hard work, growing one’s own crops and livestock. And so does the eco-village look like.
Eco-villages can be traditional, typical villages where people always have been living this way, or newly created, where rural settlements repopulates mainly people from urban places, who have become tired of the rush of modern times. Several sources states, that the eco-village is a rural community where people seek traditional way of life similar to a life which our ancestors knew. They live in harmony with nature, using the resources that are around them and try to behave so that their activities do not have a negative impact on the environment. In other words, the eco-village residents together seek to reverse the adverse effects of human activities on the planet that are caused by improper handling of natural resources.
UN in its report Global Environment Outlook 2000 concluded that it is no longer possible to ignore the need to change the way of life and approach to nature and its resources since the current situation is unsustainable. Many scientists warn that if our species is to survive, humanity must learn to live sustainably. Eco-villages are just an example of good practice, effective and also affordable way to combat environmental degradation.
ECO-VILLAGES IN SLOVAKIA
Also in Slovakia, we have places where people come back to the original traditions, consciously build eco-villages and live in a harmony with nature. The area of Zaježová hamlets is situated in the Zvolen district and currently belongs under the nearby village Pliešovce. In 1958 the little hamlets in the mountains Javorie united into a separate municipality. Back then, about 173 settlements were situated on thousands of hectares of land. The village had 660 residents, but after the World War II the rate began to decline rapidly. Indigenous peoples began to migrate to cities in search of a better future. After 1989, Zaježová was rediscovered by traditions confessors who were fascinated by the beauty of the nature and so new settlers began to move here. Residents in Zaježová take nature and folk traditions as an integral part of their lives. Since 1991, civil society organizations began to work in the area. They try to revive traditional Slovak architecture, folk crafts and later started to work on the protection of the environment. Together they take care of the farm on the Polomy and Sekier hamlets where they reconstructed the old reeve settlement. In Zaježová we find many attractions that do not occur elsewhere. These include, for example, houses of hay bales, food bank, community-managed school or meditation retreat in the dark.
Lovinka is located between the villages Cinobaňa and Lovinobaňa in the Poltár district. In the eighties, a recreation resort of Poltár glassworks started to be built in this place. However, it did not serve its purpose for a long time and together with the decline of glassmaking in Poltár, the recreation resort declined gradually as well. Dilapidated buildings repeatedly changed its owner until they ended up in the hands of the current proprietors. They started with the reconstruction immediately and made from Lovinka permaculture and yoga-meditation center. From 2012 one six-member family live in the settlement. Later they have been joined by two other settlers. They founded jointly a civic association, Community Lovinka, that promotes a sustainable way of life. Residents are trying to cultivate organic food without chemicals and also lead a healthy lifestyle. For the restoration of buildings, they used exclusively natural materials such as clay, reed, sheep’s wool or wood. Education center in Lovinka organizes various workshops focusing on healthy diet, herbalism, yoga, natural building, permaculture growing and many others.